What do you know about the 1973 penny value? After reviewing this helpful guide, you’ll know everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how much the 1973 Lincoln Memorial cent is worth!
No matter what kind of 1973 Memorial Reverse penny you have, at least one thing is for sure; these pennies are worth more than their listed denomination of $0.01. But how much is your specific 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny worth? To find out, you’ll need to understand how color, condition, and mint marks affect pricing.
1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny Value Chart
|1973-P Penny BN||$2.5||$5||$10|
|1973-P Penny RB||$5||$7.5||$15|
|1973-P Penny RD||$7.5||$15||$30|
|1973-D Penny BN||$1||$2.5||$5|
|1973-D Penny RB||$5||$7.5||$15|
|1973-D Penny RD||$10||$15||$20|
|1973-S Penny BN||$1||$2.5||$5|
|1973-S Penny RB||$2.5||$5||$10|
|1973-S Penny RD||$10||$15||$30|
|1973-S Proof Penny RDC||$6||$8.5||$11|
|1973-S Proof Penny RDU||$8.5||$11.5||$15|
1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny: History
The 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny shares several qualities with every penny struck from 1959 to 1982; the Memorial Reverse design, a comparatively high copper content (95%), and identical weight and diameter.
Perhaps the most notable difference between the 1973 Lincoln Memorial cent and its original 1959 iteration is production volume.
The Philadelphia Mint struck just over 609 million Lincoln Memorial pennies in 1959. But in 1973, the same facility produced more than 3.7 billion of these coins!
1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny: Design
By the time the 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny debuted, the U.S. Mint had produced more than four types of one-cent coins. The Lincoln Memorial was the most recent addition, with an initial start date of 1959 (when it replaced the Lincoln Wheat cent).
Notably, this design was only a slight departure from its predecessor, the Wheat Reverse penny.
In fact, the obverse (front) side of the coin hadn’t changed at all! The only major difference between the Wheat Reverse and the Memorial Reverse pennies was the reverse (back) image, which showed a relief (device) of the Lincoln Memorial instead of two stalks of wheat.
Frank Gasparro, the engraver responsible for creating the new reverse side of the penny, caught a lot of flack when this coin first entered circulation. Many detractors commented that, from afar, the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse side resembled a cable car more than a building.
Still, this design was used for almost 50 years, making it almost as long-lived as the Wheat Reverse design.
The 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny’s obverse side features:
- The motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” arched at the top-most portion of the coin
- The legend “LIBERTY” leading from the left-most edge of the coin, positioned slightly below the coin’s midpoint (almost parallel with Lincoln’s collar)
- A raised relief (device) of President Abraham Lincoln, in profile, facing toward the right of the coin and extending down to the bottom-most edge
- The year date (1973) on the lower righthand side of the coin, slightly below Lincoln’s bow tie
- A capital letter mint mark (D or S) beneath the year date (except for Philadelphia Mint coins, which lack a mint mark)
The 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny’s reverse side features:
- The issuing nation (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA) arched at the top-most portion of the coin
- The motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” beneath the issue nation, separated by interpoints
- A raised relief (device) of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
- The coin’s denomination (ONE CENT) at the bottom portion of the coin, curving upward to match the curvature of the coin
1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny: Features and Specifications
With the exception of rare error coins, all 1973 Lincoln Memorial pennies share a set of identical characteristics. For example, these coins:
- Have plain (non-grooved) edges
- Are comprised of 95% copper
- Are 19mm (about 0.75in) in diameter
- Weigh 3.11g (about 0.11oz)
However, mint marks aren’t a universal feature for these pennies. While 1973 Lincoln Memorial cents produced at the Denver Mint and San Francisco Mint facilities feature a small capital letter denoting their origin (D or S), those struck at the Philadelphia Mint don’t have any mint mark.
How Much Is a 1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny Worth?
A 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny in circulated condition is worth $0.02 in good condition (G-4) or about uncirculated condition (AU-50). Uncirculated condition (mint state and proof) 1973 Lincoln Memorial pennies have a value ranging between $0.2 (MS-60) and $3,500 (PR-70).
1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny: Value Comparison
If you have a jar full of 1973 Lincoln Memorial pennies (or you’ve discovered a few in your coin collection), you might wonder, “How much are these coins worth?”
To find out, you’ll need to consider the following:
- The coin’s mint mark (or lack thereof)
- The coin’s coloration
- The coin’s condition
- The coin’s strike type (regular or proof)
Let’s explore each type of 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny to help make it easier for you to determine the approximate worth of your specific coin.
1973-P No Mint Mark Lincoln Memorial Penny Value
While many 1973 Lincoln Memorial pennies are listed online as “rare” for lacking a mint mark, “no mint mark” Lincoln Memorial pennies are exceptionally common. Nearly all pennies struck at the Philadelphia Mint lack a mint mark! The only exception is the commemorative 2017-P Lincoln Shield pennies, which feature a tiny capital letter “P” beneath the year date.
Still, if you have a 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny that doesn’t have a mint mark, you’ve got your hands on a coin produced at the Philadelphia Mint facility. The value of these one-cent coins varies significantly, with estimates ranging from $0.02 to $250. Condition and coloration are the two major factors impacting the value of a 1973-P Lincoln Memorial penny.
Notably, this is the most common type of penny produced in 1973. The Philadelphia Mint struck more pennies that year than any other U.S. Mint facility (about 3.7 billion).
When copper comes into contact with oxygen and water, it oxidizes. This process transforms bright red copper into dull, brown metal. This is why so many “old” pennies turn brown with time!
Unfortunately, brown (BN) Lincoln Memorial pennies are almost always far less valuable than brighter, redder versions. A BN 1973-P Lincoln Memorial cent has an estimated value ranging from $0.2 (fair to about uncirculated condition, FR-2 to AU-50) to $10 (MS-66).
Red and Brown
Red and brown (RB) Lincoln Memorial pennies are more vibrant than brown ones, as they feature slightly less oxidation. They also tend to be in much better shape than their brown counterparts. The value of a BN 1973-P Lincoln Memorial cent varies between $5 (MS-64) and $15 (MS-66).
A red (RD) 1973-P Lincoln Memorial penny is typically worth far more than a BN or RB example. These coins are also in much better condition than those of other colors, as the red hue denotes a near-pristine surface that’s similar to the look of freshly-minted pennies.
As such, it’s virtually impossible to find an RD 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny (of any variety) with a grade of less than MS-64. These pennies are worth between $0.2 (MS-60) and $250 (MS-67).
1973-D Lincoln Memorial Penny Value
The Denver Mint struck more than 3.5 billion Lincoln Memorial pennies in 1973, putting the facility’s total penny production numbers just below those of the Philadelphia Mint. Consequently, 1973-D Lincoln Memorial cents are slightly rarer than those without a mint mark (1973-P Lincoln Memorial pennies).
That said, the values for these coins are similar to those of the Philadelphia Mint variety.
A brown (BN) 1973-D Lincoln Memorial penny has an estimated value of $0.05 when in good (G-4) or about uncirculated (AU-50) condition. But BN 1973-D Lincoln Memorial cents in mint state condition are more valuable.
An MS-60 1973-D Lincoln Memorial penny is worth about $0.10, while an MS-67 example is worth about $7.50.
Red and Brown
Red and brown (RB) 1973-D Lincoln Memorial pennies are worth between $5 (MS-64) and $15 (MS-66). Because they’re a bit of a middle point between brown (heavily oxidized) and red (mint state) coins, you won’t find them in about uncirculated (AU-50) or good (G-4) condition.
Red (RD) 1973-D Lincoln Memorial pennies can be worth as little as $10 (MS-64) or as much as $800 (MS-67). RD 1973-D Memorial Reverse cents in exceptional condition (MS-67) are worth more than 1973-P Lincoln Memorial pennies with an equivalent grade.
1973-S Lincoln Memorial Penny Value
The San Francisco Mint struck the fewest pennies in 1973 (compared to the Denver Mint and Philadelphia Mint facilities), minting only about 317 million of these copper one-cent coins. That might seem like quite a lot, but it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the billions the other U.S. Mint facilities produced that year!
As a result, 1973-S Lincoln Memorial pennies are the rarest regular strike pennies of 1973. They can also be quite valuable, especially when they’re in excellent condition and feature a rich red shine.
A brown (BN) 1973-S Lincoln Memorial cent has an estimated price ranging from $0.05 (G-4, AU-50) to $7.50 (MS-67). Values for this oxidized one-cent coin only creep above the $0.05 mark if the condition is mint state (MS-60 or higher).
Red and Brown
Red and brown (RB) 1973-S Lincoln Memorial pennies can be worth as little as $2.50 (MS-64) or as much as $10 (MS-66). They’re not quite as valuable as their purely red counterparts.
Red (RD) 1973-S Lincoln Memorial pennies have an estimated worth ranging between $10 (MS-64) and $900 (MS-67). These coins are the most valuable non-error regular strike pennies from 1973.
1973-S Proof Lincoln Memorial Penny Value
Proof strikes are some of the most valuable types of 1973 Lincoln Memorial pennies.
These coins, which aren’t struck for circulation, feature designs and details that are essentially perfect in every way. This makes them ideal collectibles that tend to appreciate in value over time.
Because these coins tend to go straight into coin collections, never entering circulation, they retain their original red copper exteriors. The San Francisco Mint facility produced about 2.76 million proof pennies in 1973, and it was the only U.S. Mint facility that struck proof pennies that year.
But while you won’t find these coins in the standard three-color range, there are three distinct types:
- Red Cameo
- Red Ultra Cameo
Naturally, each type has a unique price range.
Somewhat counterintuitively, red (RD) 1973-S Proof pennies can be less valuable than regular strike pennies. For example, a PR-69 example sold on eBay in 2022 for only $39.99, making it less valuable than an RD 1973-D Lincoln Memorial penny with an MS-67 grade.
Red Cameo (RDC) 1973-S Proof pennies have a slightly more striking look than their standard proof counterparts. These coins typically feature a two-tone appearance, with a brighter raised relief (device) and a slightly darker field (background.
A 1973-S RDC Proof penny has an estimated value ranging between $0.30 (PR-60) and $25 (PR-69). Overall, these coins are easier to come by than Ultra Cameo versions.
Red Ultra Cameo
Ultra Cameo (also called Deep Cameo) pennies take things to a whole new level, with distinctly dark fields (backgrounds) and much lighter-toned raised devices. The 1973-S Proof RDU (Red Ultra Cameo) is the most valuable type of 1973 Memorial Reverse penny.
Although this coin is only worth about $8.50 in PR-64, it can be worth as much as $3,500 if it’s a PR-70!
Still, RDU 1973-S Proof pennies aren’t the only pennies that sell for top-dollar prices. Rare error coins can also be quite valuable.
1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny: Rare Errors
Although the U.S. Mint has essentially perfected coin production, the machinery used to strike coins occasionally malfunctions. When this happens, “error coins” are born.
Some of the most notable 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny errors include the:
- 1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny Double Struck Both Strikes Off-Center
- 1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny Double Struck 90% Off-Center
- 1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny Struck 65% Off-Center
- 1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny Die Crack
1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny Double Struck Both Strikes Off-Center
Off-center strikes account for some of the most valuable 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny error coins. These mistakes occur when the metal planchet (blank metal disc) slides out of place during the striking process.
The result is a coin that features only a partial coin die impression. When the coin is struck again but remains off-center, it’s called a “double struck” error coin.
When in mint state condition, these double struck off-center coins can sell for above-average prices; for example, an MS-64 example sold for $204 in 2020.
1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny Double Struck 90% Off-Center
Occasionally, an off-center coin die can result in a slightly elliptical coin with an irregular shape. This is the case with the 90% off-center double struck coin that sold for $588 in 2021!
Although most of this coin’s obverse and reverse sides look fairly standard, the “slip” that caused the strike to become off-center is evident in the large piece of planchet squished upward to the coin’s top right edge.
1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny Struck 65% Off-Center
If you’ve ever wondered what a coin planchet looks like, look no further than this 65% off-center 1973 Lincoln Memorial cent. With just the slight edge of Lincoln’s face peeking in via the lower left-hand corner, this coin’s plain planchet face (with a circular spot in the middle for precise striking) is mostly visible.
1973 Lincoln Memorial Penny Die Crack
Coin dies are similar to wax seal stamps. These hard metal objects press into metal planchets, leaving the impressions that give our coins their distinct designs.
But coin dies don’t last forever. These tools can develop cracks, dents, and other forms of damage. When this happens, the image they press into planchets can be distorted or covered in small fissures.
The 1973 Lincoln Memorial Die Crack penny is a great example of this error.
Most die crack pennies produced in 1973 show a small line above Lincoln’s head, typically leading up between the “D” and “W” in the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.” However, these pennies aren’t the most expensive error coins from 1973, and most sell for between $1 and $5 online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have additional questions about the 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny? If so, check out the frequently asked questions below for more information!
How Much Is a 1973 Penny Worth Now?
A 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny is worth anywhere between $0.05 and $3,500. The precise value of one of these coins depends on its mint mark (D, S, or no mint mark (Philadelphia Mint), coloration (red, red and brown, or brown), and condition.
The least valuable 1973 Lincoln Memorial pennies are brown (BN) 1973-D and 1973-S coins in good condition (G-4), while the most valuable are 1973-S Proof Ultra Cameo Lincoln Memorial pennies with a condition grade of PR-70. Error pennies from 1973 can also be quite valuable, occasionally selling for hundreds of dollars.
Are Lincoln Memorial Pennies Worth Anything?
Many Lincoln Memorial pennies are worth far more than their listed denomination of $0.01.
Lincoln Memories cents struck before 1982 are inherently worth more than those produced after 1982, as they contain 95% copper. In contrast, virtually all Lincoln Memorial pennies struck in 1983 (and after) are 95% zinc, with only a thin copper coating.
Because copper’s value has increased over time, copper pennies are worth far more than zinc ones. Additionally, proof Lincoln Memorial pennies, those struck on unusual metals (like bronze planchets), and error coins can be worth big bucks.
Why Is a 1973 Penny Rare?
Comparatively speaking, the 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny isn’t very rare. According to PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service), there are likely more than 6 billion of these coins still in existence today!
However, some versions of the 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny are somewhat rare. For example, the San Francisco Mint only produced 2.76 million 1973-S Proof Lincoln Memorial pennies. In contrast, they struck almost 320 million for-circulation (regular strike) Lincoln Memorial cents that year.
Error pennies struck that year are also rarer than regular strike examples, making them quite valuable.
The 1973 penny value varies depending on its mint mark, coloration, and condition (grade). Errors also impact pricing, typically favorably. For example, in March 2021, a rare 1973 Lincoln Memorial Double Struck 90% Off-Centre penny sold at auction for $588!
Still, the most valuable 1973 Lincoln Memorial penny is the 1973-S Proof Ultra Cameo Lincoln Memorial penny. This one-cent proof coin has an estimated value ranging between $8.50 (PR-64) and $3,500 (PR-70).
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